By Tyler Hailstork
As September continues, the awareness for suicide prevention carries on. On Sept. 14, 2022, Xavier counselors created a workshop to help prevent stress and anxiety among the students on campus. This event was held on the second floor of the University Center from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. The seminar allowed students to express their concerns and emotions about having anxiety and stress in their lives.
Most college students use the same techniques and methods to relieve their anxiety and stress, counselors said. When presenting this workshop, DeMiracle Woodson, a mental health counselor at Xavier, shared that the main cause of a never-ending cycle of stress is the lack of knowledge on how to cope with stress and anxiety.
“There are so many resources around you guys, but many of you are too scared to take advantage of our resources. We want to help, please come and see us so that we can talk through some of your stress,” Woodson said.
According to a 2015 Harns Poll, 54-percent of students stay up late when stressed, 16-percent consume alcohol, 11-percent use drugs, and 9-percent smoke cigarettes. When revealing these numbers to the students, Woodson followed up with an open discussion asking students if they believed that their peers on campus were abusing the use of drugs and alcohol as a coping method to relieve such stressors. Even though many did not directly answer, students said that due to the rigorous academics at Xavier it would not surprise many of them if their fellow peers were abusing such substances.
“Being a second-year pharmacy student, I feel as though my peers have thought about taking recreational drugs to cope with their mental load of Xavier. I feel that it is very common for kids my age to smoke or drink to feel a sense of comfort. Or to at least temporarily relieve the stress,” said Leila Hopson, a sophomore, chemistry-pre-pharmacy major, at Xavier University.
To reinforce the positive methods on how to cope with stress, Woodson asked the students how they cope. She followed by reporting that 70-percent of people sleep, 64-percent watch TV, go online and play video games, and 59-percent of people socialize, with 45-percent taking interest in hobbies. The counselors spoke about accommodations and how to properly help pass courses based on trying to receive help from counselors and peers.
Since Xavier is known for its STEM and biomedical programs, the counselors made it a point to highlight the eight dimensions of wellness. They are environmental, intellectual, spiritual, financial, physical, social, emotional, and vocational. Woodson believed that focusing on one of these core wellness for at least 30 days will help improve a better-concentrated focus, to eventually relieve stress.
“In the long scheme of your life, this is just a snapshot of what’s to come. A small portion that goes quickly. What happens now doesn’t make your future permanent. Just reach out, don’t wait until it’s too late,” said Michelle Balan, an advisor with the Student Academic Success Office at Xavier.
Following this workshop was Recovery Day on Sept. 21, which was to help reinstate confidence in students’ life from stressors they could acquire. This event took place on the first floor of the University Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. To seek further counseling and one on one conversations on the second floor of St. Joseph is where students can find the counseling office,
which the staff said is ready to take on any problems that students are willing to share and express to them. Hours are between 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and counselors said they encourage students to continue to seek help to utilize resources such as their United Care benefits.
“Honestly, I came here because I had to, but I truly want to start going to counseling, as I need to improve my grades and my mental health. This workshop was useful,” said Chavez Bronson, a sophomore, public health major at Xavier.